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Archive for 2011

Eye on Somalia: crisis mapping and vector data formats available

Sunday, November 6th, 2011

Patrick Meier, PhD, director of Crisis Mapping at Ushahidi and previously co-directed Harvard’s Program on Crisis Mapping and Early Warning, has a blog, where he outlines a project of the “Standby Volunteer Task Force (SBTF)” new team recently launched called the Satellite Imagery Team. This team is in Somalia due to a partnership with UNHCR, DigitalGlobe, Tomnod, SBTF and Ushahidi.


Be Inspired Bentley Thought Leadership Conference begins Monday in Amsterdam

Friday, November 4th, 2011

On Saturday, I fly to Amsterdam to attend the Be Inspired Bentley Thought Leadership Conference held at the Hotel Okura.

Hotel Okura, Amsterdam


Esri’s new release of the Infrastructure Editing Template (IET)

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011

According to Esri “the Infrastructure Network Editing template is an ArcGIS 10 editing map and toolbar for managing water, sewer and storm water utility data.  (

It is an editor that can be used by mapping technicians in a water utility, sewer authority or public works department. You can configure the Infrastructure Network Editing Template in your environment and in doing so, you’ll learn how to update and maintain water, sewer, and storm water data using ArcGIS Desktop and your organization’s data. To complete the configuration, you will need experience with editing workflows in ArcMap.

This template includes the following:

  • An editing toolbar, reporting toolbar, a set of constructions tools, and an editor extension that is added to your ArcInfo or ArcEditor installation
  • A multi-scale ArcMap document designed for editing
  • The Local Government geodatabase with sample data from the City of Naperville, Illinois

The Infrastructure Editing toolbars contain a series of custom editing and reporting tools that improve the editing experience for ArcGIS users working with infrastructure data. For example, there are tools that:

  • Automatically connect service connections to laterals and their mains
  • Report tracing results along the utility network
  • Graph the profile of a sewer main”

According to Esri, these tools require an ArcEditor or an ArcInfo ArcGIS Desktop License. A multi-user GDB is required if there is more than one editor. If you want to publish services of your water utility data, then an ArcGIS Server Standard or Advance is required.

Crime mapping with PBBI’s MapInfo Crime Profiler

Tuesday, November 1st, 2011

Ian Broadbent, Principal Product Manager Global Public Safety Solutions at Pitney Bowes Business Insight, spoke to GISVoice recently about PBBI’s MapInfo Crime Profiler designed to address various types of crimes and to approach crime-fighting for major metropolitan police forces with an intelligent solution.

Accident Hot Spots


Search engines and social media tracking

Monday, October 31st, 2011

Last week I read the Wired Cloudline blog Beyond Google’s Reach: Tracking the Global Uprising in Real Time which talked about the search engine Topsy, which is designed to “rank people, not pages,” as Google does. Topsy is an entirely different search engine model than Google, and therefore can pick up and aggregate information from social media in perhaps a different way than Google.

A case was made that suggested that Google did not pick up tweets on the October 15th protest at Occupy Wall Street as efficiently as Topsy.

I decided to look for myself and compare the posts that have been gathered today for both Google and Topsy for Occupy Wall Street. What is interesting is that each are picking up different bits of media –

Topics for Google:
Google is picking up newspaper articles and newscasts, such as “Opinion: Occupy Wall Street is a vigil, not a protest,” New Jersey Star-Ledger, “Occupy Wall Street kitchen slowdown targets squatters,”, “Occupy Wall Street in the Age of Technology”, Huffington Post, “Most Americans Aren’t Occupy Wall Street’s ’99 Percent’ The Atlantic.

Topsy has picked up the following topics in tweets: “Protesters turn their back on @ericcantor during speech at University of Michigan #ows ”
A trustworthy #OWS activist tells me that an influx of homeless and hardened criminals is causing major issues for Zuccotti campers
“Police use bulldozers to break up @OccupyRichmond. #ows ”
“#OWS has spread to 87 countries with 1,039+ distinct events. (and counting) ”

Note that the Google search is producing articles that were published as much as three weeks ago, while the Topsy search is displaying tweets written just 18 minutes ago.

In the realm of tracking events of local or global importance, it would seem that a combination of these two types of searches would be best, so that we have well researched articles side by side with the up-to-the-minute crowdsourced view of the bystander.

On the one hand, in-depth reporting of a body of knowledge on an event is always useful in tracking history and trends, and offering insightful perspectives. What is published in newspapers, magazines and books is thought to have staying power, whereas we are not yet sure how long the impact of a tweet or Facebook post will last.

The veracity of tweets is questionable, and they are posted before anyone has a chance to check whether they come from reliable sources. When several sources convey the same message, however, it can indicate that something is really happening at a given location. Topsy can be important in tracking social movement such as the progress of an uprising or movement of a group of people. There is power in numbers, so the sheer number of people who will protest now using social media may increase because they have more confidence in doing so when they know others are of like mind.

Images of El Hierro Spanish Submarine Volcano Eruption from RapidEye

Monday, October 31st, 2011

From October 13 and October 23 RapidEye took true color, high-resolution RapidEye satellite images featuring a gigantic stain visible on the surface of Las Calmas Sea resulting from a submarine eruption out of the coast of El Hierro, Spain. The eruption occurred at 1200 meter below sea level at 10.43 local time (09:43 UTC) on October 10, 2011.


Image Taken on October 13th


New analysis from NOAA shows human-caused climate change a big factor in Mediterranean droughts

Friday, October 28th, 2011

Check out this worrisome new analysis by NOAA scientists and colleagues at the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES).:

Winter precipitation trends in the Mediterranean region for the period 1902 - 2010.

Wintertime droughts are increasingly common in the Mediterranean region, and human-caused climate change is partly responsible, according to a new analysis by NOAA scientists and colleagues at the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES). In the last 20 years, 10 of the driest 12 winters have taken place in the lands surrounding the Mediterranean Sea.


Occupy Wall Street inspires more than protests: mapping tweets and Facebook pages

Thursday, October 27th, 2011

One month into the Occupy Wall Street protest, the internet is populated with maps depicting activity around the event, not only in the U.S. but in other countries as well. The movement has inspired map makers who may have been headed in another direction, such as Humphrey Flowerdew, who along with his partner, Trung Huynh, both based in London, were originally in business to use their Crafivy to aggregate and map real estate listings.

The Cravify Occupy Wall Street map shows tweets from throughout the world with the hashtags such as #occupywallst, #occupylsx, #occupyrome, #occupytokyo that are frequently updated.


Autodesk BIM for Infrastructure: Sustainable Cities

Wednesday, October 26th, 2011

Sustainable infrastructure is needed to replace the $41 trillion worth of infrastructure that needs to be replaced or retrofitted around the world.

According to Paul McRoberts , vice president of the Infrastructure Product Line Group AEC Solutions at Autodesk, there is only about $22 trillion available to remedy this situation. How is this to be accomplished?

Autodesk’s Infrastructure Design Suite 2012, Autodesk’s BIM for Infrastructure solution, combines the tools needed to plan, design, build and manage infrastructure. Autodesk Infrastructure Modeler, a new product, represents the expansion of Autodesk’s BIM portfolio and is geared around the idea of being able to leverage existing information such as GIS data and any kind of disparate data: lidar data, raster and photogrammetry; and being able to layer this information in and to create a representation of existing conditions. Infrastructure Modeler can compare conceptual models that can be used for new proposals to help customers and stakeholders understand what the future infrastructure is going to look like.


United Nations-backed meeting on GIS technologies held in Seoul, Korea this week

Tuesday, October 25th, 2011

A five-day series of United Nations-backed meeting is being held from October 23-28 in Seoul, Korea for the purpose of improving the management of geospatial information technologies and using them to tackle global socio-economic challenges. Representatives from 90 countries and delegates from dozens of international organizations and civil society numbering approximately 350 are expected to attend.

The use of geospatial information goes beyond national borders, according to the UN Programme on Global Geospatial Information Management (GGIM). The proliferation of natural disasters has heightened the need for urgent response and quick, accurate and specific geospatial solutions.

Participants will strive to bring countries together to “share their experiences in how to organize their geospatial information infrastructure plan policy priorities and handle privately-sourced information and that produced by national authorities.”

UN-backed meeting considers better use of geospatial technology, UN News Centre

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